More and more, birthparents and would-be parents are choosing open adoption as part of their birth or adoption plans. However, there are still lingering fears and concerns about open adoption so that some birthparents or would-be parents are reluctant to go that route, especially for domestic infant adoptions. According to a 2008 study by the National Survey of Adoptive Parents, of the 2,089 interviewed, 68% reported that there was some level of contact after the adoption was finalized.
To help parents make a more informed decision whether to choose an open adoption, semi-open adoption or a confidential adoption, let’s take a look at some fears and how these are addressed:
– Open adoption presents too many uncertainties. Yes, choosing an open adoption is not without its risks. It is important for would-be parents to be aware of the risks that they may not be chosen by a birthparent as soon as they wanted, the birthparents may change their mind and so on. That way, would-be parents go into the adoption process with realistic expectations. But these risks can be significantly reduced when you work with an adoption agency or specialist that has already evaluated the birthparent’s situation and birth plan and to match the birthparent with the appropriate applicants for adoption. This lays a strong foundation for an open and legally binding adoption.
– You are not really clear where the parental rights of the birthparents and would-be parents begin and end. When working with a reputable adoption agency such as A Act of Love Adoptions, both birthparents and would-be parents are informed in detail as to what their rights are. If you are a birthparent, it should be clear what it means to choose adoption and terminating parental rights. If you are a would-be parent, you should also be clear about the risks, as well as the responsibilities to expect during the finalization of the adoption and even after it has been finalized. Before the finalization of the adoption, both parties can agree in advance as to the level of contact and any boundaries or limitations both desire. What’s important is that both parties are coordinating with each other about how the relationship will evolve.
– Open adoption can cost an arm and a leg. Fees vary depending on the adoption agency and the kind of adoption you have. Domestic infant adoptions may be expensive, but so are international adoptions. Scrutinize each fee charged. For A Act of Love Adoptions, the fees will invariably be for services provided, which include guidance during the home study, as well as pre- and post-adoptive support.
– Wouldn’t it be emotionally taxing and confusing for the birth parents and the family, especially for the child? It really depends on how the situation is handled. It can actually be heart-warming and reassuring for the birthparent to see that they have made the right choice because the child is loved and thriving. This can help immensely in the birthparents grieving, healing and moving on process. It can be reassuring for the child to see that he has both sets of parents who deeply love him and he doesn’t have to wonder about his birthparents. It can also be an enriching experience for the whole family as they forge stronger relationships with each other and celebrate the way they have built a family by recognizing each one’s part in that family. It can be helpful to get post-adoption counseling to help you thresh out any issues and concerns you may have with regards to contact between the family and birth family.
– Will the child eventually decide to be with the birthparents when he reaches adulthood? The likelihood of this happening is small, especially when parents have done their best to bond with the child and show that they are a family no matter how they came to be one.
– It’s easier to have a successful adoption with an open adoption than with a confidential one. This is not really an issue and is more of a pre-conceived notion. It is nevertheless important to keep in mind that with adoption, it is the welfare of the child that is the concern, not the ease by which one can have the adoption finalized. An open adoption addresses the child’s deep need to know about his roots – his family and cultural background.